How to protect your private information online

News 100 blueBy Clair Nash

April 6th, 2020


As our online life continues to grow so do the risks involved in managing so much of our lives through digital tools, it has become increasingly important to learn how to protect your private information online, at all times.

We have been continuously integrating digital into daily life, moving from emails to online banks, even medical appointments can now happen through the web, so what can you do to stay safe but still enjoy all these wonderful tools at your disposal.

Choose carefully
Know where you are going online, the kinds of websites you visit and the apps you download, having the right information to make choices is a pretty good starting point for safety.

So if you are planning on gaming online pick the right site with secured online casino payment, sites with plenty of reviews, don’t trust mass emails sent out to you, verify your bank’s address and avoid clicking on links sent by friends and family. Common sense is your first line of defense.


This is not a secure password system.

Passwords matter, a lot
This one is huge, and your second line of protection. Your passwords should be hard to guess, different for each account and they must never ever be shared.

How to pick a password? Avoid the common birthdays, home addresses and any easy hint, it is always better to go with random numbers, names, and places. Use a password manager to keep track of them all, change them regularly and stay ahead of the threat.

Update everything
Those pesky update reminder on your computer or your phone is there to do more than just annoy you, updating your device means more protection for your information.

Every new software development in operating systems helps to better security, so while it may be a little annoying to have to do it so often it is a small price to pay to stay safe. So next time you see that update notification come up just do it and save yourself some heartache.

Back up your information
Whether you use cloud storage or actual external drives backing up your data can help you stay safe in case of theft or when you lose a device somewhere.

Having your data copied somewhere means you can remotely deactivate devices even if you lose that information, protecting you and making it impossible for someone else to use your device. Literary saved data is safe data.

Don’t overshare!
One of the biggest problems for staying safe online right now is social media sharing, the more people know about you and your life the more exposed and vulnerable you are to identity theft and hacking.

So keep your sharing to the minimum, the internet does not need to know every move you make, the places you visit, the things you buy, friends you have and your mom’s birthday, for online purposes keeping quiet can keep you safer.

Smartphone use
The smartphone is by far the most used device right now, so they store within them incredible amounts of our information.

Intelligent, clean, conscious use of your smartphone makes your security a priority and saves you from unexpected threats, here are some other handy tips to keep your smartphone safe.

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The kids are back in school - just not in classrooms - it is going to be an interesting and revealing week for everyone

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 6th, 2020



Child getting off school bus

Students will not be on school buses for the next couple of months.

Classrooms won’t have students in them this morning – but there will be thousands of students sitting in front of computers communicating with teachers at the other end of an internet connection.

Every restaurant in town will be empty – except for those who have decided to offer a take-out service.

Just about all of them are not certain they will ever be able to open again.

The schools will, at some point, re-open.
The Gazette will report on the hospitality industry later in the week. The federal government loan program has been announced – it will take a few days for the hospitality people to get a clear sense as to what this will mean for them. A $40,000 loan doesn’t really go all that far.

Sagar behind screen

Kerry Sagar didn’t know that she would be teaching from a computer screen several months ago.

This morning Kerry Sager will begin her classroom session with the iStem students at Aldershot high school. Sager

Julia Hunt Gibbons is a Superintendent with the Halton District School Board. When the schools were closed by the province her work load increased as she, along with all the other Superintendents who had to reflect, refine, and plan roll outs of continuity of learning/distance learning.

Hunt Gibbons

Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons will be doing a lot more explaining and advising for the next few months – by telephone and online.

Hunt Gibbons won’t be doing any direct teaching to students, although she does spend a lot of time “answering their questions on the Board FAQ.”

Her primary role is “more of a supporter of teachers, a writer — along with Secondary Program Department members offering lesson suggestions, assessment and evaluation, IT on-boarding, problem-solving and Ministry/board messaging.”
What Superintendents really have to do will become much clearer in the next few days as both parents and students adjust to how an education is going to be delivered.
One of the ironies with how students are going to be taught now (electronically) is that this was one of the issues teachers were fighting the Ministry of education over. Teachers wanted limits on just how much education would be delivered electronically – now that is all they a have to work with.
The biggest job now for everyone is facilitating the sharing that has to take place between teachers across the system, largely through Google Hangouts these days.

graphic coping redThe Gazette has created a small team of parents who have children in elementary classes. They are as concerned as the teachers who have to make the best of what they have. We will report on what the parents have to say. You can follow their views and comments in the Coping series.

As for Kerry Sagar, she is organizing her day getting ready to teach.

Related news story

How parents are coping with having the kids at home.

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Easter is about more than chocolate and painted eggs - Palm Sunday ahead of us.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 4TH, 2020


Easter isn’t about coloured eggs and the Easter Bunny.

Starts with Palm Sunday, then Good Friday, then Easter Sunday.

This Sunday we remember when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowds waved branches and laid down coats and shouted “Hosanna!”

palm sunday kids

Children in churches around the world will take part in a Palm Sunday procession.

In many churches there is a procession with the children walking into the Sanctuary waving palm tree leaves and singing hymns.

Covid-19 has put a serious crimp on church attendance. My church, Hamilton Mennonite, sent out a note saying they “need help to do a different kind of Palm Sunday processional, and anyone of any age can participate! Here are the steps:

Palm Sunday1) Print the attached palm branch colouring page (as many as your household needs)
2) Colour (or otherwise decorate) it
3) Take a Picture of your artwork (horizontal is best). Include you holding it, if you want, or add your name to it.
4) Email it here or to Alissa at by Friday night (or 1st thing Saturday morning if you must!)

Watch for the Photo Processional this Sunday morning in worship!

I’ll go on line to see how my Pastor handles the procession.

Think about what that procession was all about; the trial that took place, the decision to crucify a man named Jesus – that part is all fact – well documented.

The balance of the story, the Risen Lord – on the third day he rose – is pure faith – you either believe it or you don’t.

Much of our core social philosophy and fundamental social beliefs comes out of a Christian perspective. We now have many who bring a Muslim perspective to the way lives are lived.”

With parents struggling to keep their children active and at least a little entertained painting hard boiled eggs seems like a good idea and the hunt for the treats that are part of the secular Easter will keep the kids happy for a couple of hours.

You might give some thought to telling them what the season is really all about.

It isn’t the Easter Bunny is it?

On Sunday 9:45 – Join live here:

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.


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District school board expects the school year to start September 8th - between now and then all options are on the table

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 1st, 2020



HDSB sign and benchSomeone seems to have forgotten to do a reality check.

The Halton District School Board today released the proposed school calendar for the 2020-2021 academic year.

At the March 25, 2020 Board meeting, trustees of the Halton District School Board approved the proposed calendar dates for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Final approval of the calendar by the Ministry of Education is anticipated later in Spring 2020.

Will there be an academic year? In the event that there is the calendar proposed is set out below.

School calendar 2020-2021The school year calendar is developed with input from the School Year Calendar Committee consisting of representatives from interested and affected groups, including parents/guardians. The 2020-2021 school year calendar is aligned with the Halton Catholic District School Board calendar, to consolidate resources on school bus transportation, which is shared between school boards.

The calendar outlines the Professional Activity days (PA) for staff when schools will be closed to students, as well as school breaks and holidays. The first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year is Tuesday, Sept. 8.

These dates will be provided to schools to be shared with students and parents/guardians, and they are also posted on the Board’s website at (refer to the Calendar on the home page).

The date is April 1st – is this a prank?  Apparently not.

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Cheesecake on the doorstep; an obstinate at times daughter, a husband missing sports but I can take a long bath

graphic coping greenBy Nicki St George

April 1, 2020



The Gazette has put together a team of parents who are at home taking care of their children while the province goes through school closures and the shut down of everything other than essential services.

Ashley Worobec, Amber Rohol, and Nicki St. George will write regularly on how they are coping.  We invite parents to take part in this initiative by adding comments to each Coping with COVID19 & the kids article.

Saturday, March 21
My friend who runs the homeschooling FaceBook group posts a great idea – why bother keeping a tidy house when no one is coming over? I mull this over but decide that my brain cannot function without a clean space. Today is “Cleaning the House Day.” Everyone has their own job to do. I argue with my husband over the placement of the vacuum cleaner, so things are pretty much business as usual.
Everyone is getting each other’s nerves a bit. We go for a long family walk and we see some sidewalk art that cheers us up. Various Facebook mums groups are trying to coordinate rainbows and smiley faces to be put in windows. I take a long bath, something that I don’t always feel like I have time for, but now…

Sunday, March 22
Things left at my door: cheesecake from my neighbor, Kumon math book for Leo, USB cable for the monitor, no monitor yet, a gift from my friend in NZ. We watch the New Zealand news (where my husband and mother are from and where I lived for 10 years)– they are beginning lock down. Dan takes the kids out for a bit so that I can have some breathing room. There is a lot of asking questions today; Bea is whiny…can I have a treat? Can I have iPad? What’s for dinner? I finish my puzzle! I start a new puzzle.

Work plan week 2 St George

Keeping them focused and busy is going to be a challenge if this lasts more than a month.

Monday, March 23
Overall the day is okay. I write our schedule on chart paper (as has become the norm) and permit my kids the use of electronics at two points during the day – when I have two school meetings scheduled over Zoom. I marvel at anyone who is trying to work from home right now and watch their kids at the same time.
I decide to attempt some homeschooling with the kids and I try to figure out how to work with one, while keeping the other one busy. There is a reason why I chose to teach high school. This will get easier I tell myself. They start journals. They spend the rest of the day on devices. Bea chats with Maelle. This involves going through every face filter on Messenger. Bea calls out instructions, “choose the scariest…funniest…” A revelation comes when she realizes that her dolls’ faces register as faces in the camera. This goes on for a long time. I am happy that she has a friend to play with.

Tuesday, March 24
Today the first thing on our list is “get dressed and brush teeth.” Bea, in typical six-year-old fashion, refuses to get dressed. I get frustrated. We go for a walk. I try to encourage Bea to learn the names of some birds and she refuses. She stops every 5 meters and complains that I am walking too fast. Molasses would beat me in a race. I get more frustrated. We return home and both kids pick up their workbooks without complaining and quietly start to work. This was the next thing on our list. I pat myself on the back and my mood lifts. I make us lunch. Then it is time for a break. I have had to dig out my husband’s old iPhone so that both kids can chat with their friends at the same time, while leaving me in peace. I do some reading for my Masters degree that I’m working towards. I check in on friends, scroll through social media feeds, and do anything possible to avoid actually doing any reading. Next up is fairy garden making. Something that Bea has been so excited about. It is also convenient since Leo lost another tooth on our walk earlier. The kids complete their journals for the day. I give them sentence starters. Under “A challenge I faced was…” they each write the other’s name. I conquer.

Coping pictures St George

The whole tribe on line to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, March 25
Today my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage. I send out a request to my brother, parents and 82-year-old aunt in NZ to download the Houseparty app so that we can have a toast together. The process of getting my dad and aunt to go through the motions of downloading the app and signing in nearly finishes me. But we make it work and we have a nice chat together!

Thursday, March 26
I have to go to the hospital for an appointment with my oncologist and my Herceptin treatment. My dad has given me an N95 mask, which I wear. There is only one entrance into the hospital. They ask the usual questions, take my temperature and tell me my mask is better than theirs so I should just keep that one on. Things have changed dramatically in the chemo suite since my last visit two weeks ago. The nurses are all wearing masks and while I am here, they are told to move their workspaces so they are three meters apart and they are given new masks with eye protectors attached. I am still confused over the don’t wear a mask/wear a mask debate. My oncologist tells me that I should hold off on going back to work right away and we decide that I will return in May. While I’m at the hospital I leave instructions for the children. For one hour they can do the following: go in the backyard, play a game together, clean Bea’s room (as if). Then for the second hour they may have screen time. I come home to find that Leo has been helping Bea with some schoolwork. My heart swells.

Friday, March 27

The sands on Beachway do shift.

The Beachway is a quiet part of the city where keeping that two metre space isn’t all that difficult.

My family is settling nicely into the swing of self-isolation. However, I am acutely aware of my privilege in this situation. Our jobs are secure, we live in a nice neighbourhood that is safe to walk around and where neighbours look out for one another, I am on sick leave which means that I have time to spend with the kids and they are not glued to screens for 7 hours a day, and my kids are 6 and 8 – old enough to be somewhat independent and young enough to still be enthusiastic about scavenger hunts, arts and crafts and my lame attempts at doing science experiments.

Today I take the kids for a walk along the Burlington beach strip. In the afternoon, we abandon our baking project in favour of spending time outside in the sun. I make us spaghetti for dinner, a family favourite. Leo digs out his portable record player and spins records while keeping me company. Today was a good day.

Related news stories:

This is how Coping got started.

Marathon Mom gets through the first week – does the Around the Bay run solo.

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Classes start again - lessons will be delivered electronically.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 31st, 2020



The students will be back in school – no later than next week.

Directors of Education from across the province have been in conference calls with the Ministry of Education – classes are to resume.

The Boards are waiting for the last bit of documentation from the province – “We want to be sure we are fully aligned with the province” said Miller.

It will be all electronic and there will be bumps during the first week or so.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, Halton District School Board Director of Education

Stuart Miller, Halton District School Board Director of Education met with all his principals today and will begin meeting with the teachers tomorrow.

And yes they have followed the rules – they know the game.

Much of the communication is being done electronically. Miller does short videos and sends them out to the teachers.

Parents will be getting letters and later in the week Miller will go before the camera again and will talk to the students electronically.

HS student at computer

For most high school students the transition to electronic learning will not be that difficult. There will be exceptions

Secondary students will be doing regular classes – they just won’t be in the room with the teacher. The technology is  in place and, according to Miller, a lot of teachers are biting at the bit to get back to teaching. Will attendance be taken?   probably at the high school level.
It will be a little different at the elementary level – the focus will be on literacy and numbers.

Will parents be in the classroom? They can if they want.

Everyone is going to have to be flexible and patient.

child behind paper

Elementary students will be challenged – parents will have to be in the room – but with creative teachers at the other end of the internet connection it can work,

Miller said that the unions are on side – “everyone realizes this is a different time and a lot of rules are going to get bent. He added that at the same time there are going to be some interesting realizations.

Education is on a new course – the board wants it to work and the parents don’t want the length of time their children are out of the classroom to last much longer.

It will be interesting to see how this works out.

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A mother’s journal of her first week of self-isolation with Leo, 8 and Bea, 6

graphic coping blue

By Nicki St. George

March 24th, 2020



The Gazette has put together a team of parents who are at home taking care of their children while the province goes through school closures and the shut down of everything other than essential services.

Ashley Worobec, Amber Rohol, and Nicki St. George will write regularly on how they are coping.  We invite parents to take part in this initiative by adding comments to each Coping with COVID19 & the kids article.


Nicki St. George, a mother of two, Leo 8 and Bea 6, is a teacher at a private school and is in the final phase of her chemotherapy for cancer.

This is her first week with the children at home.

Thursday, March 12
I went grocery shopping at 2:30pm, just before picking my kids up from school. It was eerie. Very busy for that time of day with people quietly stockpiling canned goods and other supplies. I bought three bags of coffee and left the store with a knot in my stomach and a feeling of unease.

Friday, March 13 –
I breathed a sigh of relief that today was the last day of my 12 weekly chemotherapy sessions. After battling breast cancer for the last 6 months, the hard parts (surgery and chemo) are done and I can look forward to getting my energy back. And not a moment too soon as the Ontario government announced that schools will be closed for the next three weeks including March Break.


Deerhurst |Resort in the Muskoka’s

Saturday, March 14 –
Surrounded by scary news stories and reports from Italy about how everyone wishes they had self-isolated sooner, I begin to doubt whether I should be taking my kids up to Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka. This was going to be a way for me to keep my kids entertained while my husband, Daniel, was away for work in Saskatoon. We stay inside as a family and decide to self-isolate.

Sunday, March 15 –
I decide that we are not going to Deerhurst. I also spend time researching how to know if you are immunocompromised. The kids are disappointed. Mostly Bea because her friend was also supposed to be going there too. I explain to them that it is not safe because of COVID-19 and particularly unsafe for mum because I am more likely to get very sick from the virus. They understand the importance of washing hands and the need to keep our distance from people. I take the same approach with them about discussing the virus that I did when I told them about my cancer. I am honest about what is going on. I give them the information they need, and I answer all of their questions.

Crawford lake with wooden trail

Fresh air and explaining what is unique about the lake.

Monday, March 16 –
Social media is abuzz with free resources for kids. I join a homeschooling Facebook group which is started by my friend. I screen shot every schedule, list of creative ideas to keep kids busy, at home exercise routines, etc. that I see. I am feeling pressure to home-school. I make a list of things to keep us busy for the week on chart paper. But then I remember that it is March Break and the pressure and guilt eases. I take the kids for a walk to Crawford Lake with my mum and we have a lovely day. I consider this a win.

Tuesday, March 17 –
I am feeling the fatigue and bone pain from the residual chemo chemicals in my body. The kids watch a lot of TV and Leo chats with his friends via messenger kids. I clean out Leo’s closet and walk one block to drop off the hand-me-downs to my friend. We stand two meters apart and compare our isolation time. She had been awaiting the results of her COVID-19 test – they are negative. Daniel is working on a new project and it is keeping him very busy. He has set up a workstation in the basement and we don’t see him much for most of the day. I am grateful that we both have jobs and financial security.

Mt Nemo entrance

Mt Nemo – now closed to the public.

Wednesday, March 18 –
I continue to find myself glued to my social media feed and obsessing over the 24-hour news cycle. I reach out to some friends to see how they are doing. Even the homeschooling parents are saying that the colour coded activity schedule is way too much. I breathe a sigh of relief. I take the kids to Mt. Nemo and we have a great time exploring a new conservation area. We pass by a lot of other families and keep our distance. The kids and I also do a home workout using a YouTube video. I dig out a workbook that I bought for Bea at Costco a while ago and I get Leo to start working on learning his multiplication times tables. I decide that is enough for today.

Thursday, March 19 –
Our day starts around 10:30am. I really, really like to sleep in and spend some time working on my jigsaw puzzle. After two cups of coffee, I psych myself up for the day. Another YouTube workout, a silly game of hide the LOL doll and I take the kids for a good walk so we can all get our 10, 000 steps for the day. I am so glad that we all got fitbits as it really helps motivate the kids to move and can be used as currency for screen time!


They get called groundhogs – they are really gophers

Friday, March 20 –
Groundhog Day setting in. The kids make a fort downstairs. I make energy balls. Bea isn’t feeling well – I think she thinks she has the virus. We cuddle a lot. I read an editorial in the NY Times about a mother who refuses to home-school her children. I wade through posts about free e-learning resources and try to get my head around the world going ‘online.’ I also email my boss at the school where I teach and tell her that I’m ready to come back to work early from sick leave and help out as we prepare to move into an e-learning platform. I make a delicious beef soup for dinner with the oxtail that my husband brought home from the grocery shop (all that was left in the meat department) and we watch another movie together, as has become our nightly ritual. Added to our nightly ritual is the completion of a gratitude journal. A gift that I was given when first diagnosed with cancer. As we settle in for a long haul of self-isolation, I fear that the weeks will get harder and that it will be harder to find things to be thankful for. I want to establish the habit of acknowledging the good things in life.

On Friday Ashley Worobec, a Mother of two children and a long distance marathon runner will take us through how she is handling the day with the kids home.

graphic coping redCoping with COVID & the kids is a collaborative effort between three women and the wider community.  The group will “prime the pump” with ideas from their experiences; we invite readers to use the comments section at the end of each feature to add their own ideas.


Related news story:Get-Gaz-yellow-1

Helping parents to deal with kids who are now at home – all the time.


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A pandemic appears to be something too many people in Burlington don't understand

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 21st, 2020



We received the following from a trusted source:

I am told on good authority Spencer Smith Park was full of people today (Saturday March 21) and they were like 6 inches not 6 feet apart.

Secondly this past week, on several evenings’, soccer teams were holding practices at city parks.

I would think aside from being dangerous these likely violate provincial rules on Social Distancing.

Sad people aren’t better than this.

There are some people who are not yet getting it. Those of you who do get it – reach out to those who don’t understand what we are up against. Be blunt if you have to.

Mayor Meed Ward is doing her best.

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Now that you know you are going to have the kids at home for at least two weeks - maybe more - what do you do with them?

graphic coping redBy Pepper Parr

March 20, 2020 – 6:06am



One of the people we turn to for advice and comment on the work we do each day commented that all the articles on COVID-19 are making the Gazette look like wallpaper – it’s all the same.

And it does look that way today.

History will tell us that this virus, like 9/11, will have changed the world as we have known it. The outcome of what is really a war against a disease is one we have to win and one we can win if we use the brains and skills we have and the discipline we must develop.

graphic coping greenWe will get through this by helping each other.

The Gazette is developing a series Coping with COVID-19 & the kids.

A couple of times each week we will publish articles on what parents are doing to continue raising their children under very trying circumstances.

A number of parents are working with us to talk about ideas they will be using to care for their children for what is probably going to be longer than they realize.

Ashley with bib number

Ashley Worobec with her New York Marathon bib number.

Ashley Worobec, the chiropractor who runs and completes marathons is the mother of two; an 11 year old son and an 8 year old daughter. .

Amber Rohol, the brains behind the Active Parents website and the mother of two 11 year old girls will be joined by Nicki Rivers, a teacher at a private school and the mother of two children.

The objective is to have these three women along with members of the Gazette Advisory group prime the pump as it were – sending ideas out and receiving ideas from other parents.

This is ideally a two way flow with parents building on the ideas that come in.

Where should we start? Baking – get the kids into the kitchen and make cookies or bread. When I was raising my daughter I had to make a cake for a Girl Guide meeting. I used a cake mix but something didn’t work out all that well – the middle was mushy.

Active p logoI didn’t panic – I just got creative – scooped out the mushy middle and filled the center with jelly beans. My daughter was delighted – she wouldn’t be embarrassed – one parent asked me for the recipe.

graphic coping blueWe expect to have the editorial feature up and running in a day or two.

The team behind this will not be meeting – it will be viral – with lots of telephone calls and emails. Be part of what we are setting out to do.

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How is the virus affecting people? Who is really at risk and what they can do.

backgrounder 100By Staff

March 20th, 2020



There are a number of very authoritative sources on just what the COVID-19 virus does to people.

guardian logoThe Guardian newspaper, one of the best in the world has done a feature article on what happens to people who are infected.

How is the virus affecting people?

Guardian Australia spoke with Prof John Wilson, president-elect of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a respiratory physician.

He says almost all serious consequences of Covid-19 feature pneumonia.

Wilson says people who catch Covid-19 can be placed into four broad categories.

The least serious are those people who are “sub-clinical” and who have the virus but have no symptoms.

Next are those who get an infection in the upper respiratory tract, which, Wilson says, “means a person has a fever and a cough and maybe milder symptoms like headache or conjunctivitis”.

He says: “Those people with minor symptoms are still able to transmit the virus but may not be aware of it.”

The largest group of those who would be positive for Covid-19, and the people most likely to present to hospitals and surgeries, are those who develop the same flu-like symptoms that would usually keep them off work.

A fourth group, Wilson says, will develop severe illness that features pneumonia.

lung images and doctor

A doctor looking at x-ray images of a patient’s lungs.

He says: “In Wuhan, it worked out that from those who had tested positive and had sought medical help, roughly 6% had a severe illness.”

The WHO says the elderly and people with underlying problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

How does the pneumonia develop?

respitory tractWhen people with Covid-19 develop a cough and fever, Wilson says this is a result of the infection reaching the respiratory tree – the air passages that conduct air between the lungs and the outside.

He says: “The lining of the respiratory tree becomes injured, causing inflammation. This in turn irritates the nerves in the lining of the airway. Just a speck of dust can stimulate a cough.

“But if this gets worse, it goes past just the lining of the airway and goes to the gas exchange units, which are at the end of the air passages.

“If they become infected they respond by pouring out inflammatory material into the air sacs that are at the bottom of our lungs.”

If the air sacs then become inflamed, Wilson says this causes an “outpouring of inflammatory material [fluid and inflammatory cells] into the lungs and we end up with pneumonia.”

He says lungs that become filled with inflammatory material are unable to get enough oxygen to the bloodstream, reducing the body’s ability to take on oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide.

“That’s the usual cause of death with severe pneumonia,” he says.

How can the pneumonia be treated?


Points at which fluid builds up in the respiratory tract.

Prof Christine Jenkins, chair of Lung Foundation Australia and a leading respiratory physician, told Guardian Australia: “Unfortunately, so far we don’t have anything that can stop people getting Covid-19 pneumonia.

“People are already trialing all sorts of medications and we’re hopeful that we might discover that there are various combinations of viral and anti-viral medications that could be effective. At the moment there isn’t any established treatment apart from supportive treatment, which is what we give people in intensive care.

“We ventilate them and maintain high oxygen levels until their lungs are able to function in a normal way again as they recover.”

Wilson says patients with viral pneumonia are also at risk of developing secondary infections, so they would also be treated with anti-viral medication and antibiotics.

“In some situations that isn’t enough,” he says of the current outbreak. “The pneumonia went unabated and the patients did not survive.”

Is Covid-19 pneumonia different?

Jenkins says Covid-19 pneumonia is different from the most common cases that people are admitted to hospitals for.

“Most types of pneumonia that we know of and that we admit people to hospital for are bacterial and they respond to an antibiotic.

Wilson says there is evidence that pneumonia caused by Covid-19 may be particularly severe. Wilson says cases of coronavirus pneumonia tend to affect all of the lungs, instead of just small parts.

He says: “Once we have an infection in the lung and, if it involves the air sacs, then the body’s response is first to try and destroy [the virus] and limit its replication.”But Wilson says this “first responder mechanism” can be impaired in some groups, including people with underlying heart and lung conditions, diabetes and the elderly.

Transit - seniors with Gould

A group of seniors taking part in a Bfast transit meeting – these are the people most at risk. They will not be able to meet like this until the COVID-19 pandemic is over

Jenkins says that, generally, people aged 65 and over are at risk of getting pneumonia, as well as people with medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or a chronic disease affecting the lungs, heart, kidney or liver, smokers, Indigenous Australians, and infants aged 12 months and under.

“Age is the major predictor of risk of death from pneumonia. Pneumonia is always serious for an older person and in fact it used to be one of the main causes of death in the elderly. Now we have very good treatments for pneumonia.

“It’s important to remember that no matter how healthy and active you are, your risk for getting pneumonia increases with age. This is because our immune system naturally weakens with age, making it harder for our bodies to fight off infections and diseases.”

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Region answers Gazette questions - MoH said: 'We only have one shot at this' - stay home.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 19th, 2020 6:40 pm


This is a very dynamic and fluid situation.  Information does change.  We are now adding a time stamp to the date published. The most recent news stories are at the top of the list.

Had we been able to get to the media event the Regional government held this afternoon the following are the questions we would have asked along with the answers the Regional Communications advisers provided:

Question 1

Is the process for anyone concerned about their COVID-19 health to Self Assess, then if the assessment suggests there might be a problem – people should people call 911?

Halton Region Public Health and health care partners continue to focus on those most at risk of COVID-19. Our current priority is to hear from high-risk groups only:

o health care providers who are seeking or reporting information;

o those living or working in a health-care setting or institution and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; or

o those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Not everyone requires testing. Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home. Get rest, drink fluids, eat well and stay home. You do not need to contact Public Health.
If you are high-risk please call 311 to start the assessment process. Residents must have an appointment to attend an Assessment Centre. 

At high risk are the following:

health care providers who are seeking or reporting information;

those living or working in a health-care setting or institution and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; or

those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If you have severe symptoms, please call 9-1-1 immediately. 

Severe symptoms may include:

Shortness of breath when walking, exercising or at rest which is unusual for the patient.

Chest pain, severe fatigue, drowsiness, unstable vital signs

Question 2
Is there just the one testing location for the Region at this point?
What would have to happen for the Region to set up a second testing point.

• We have multiple assessment centres in Halton.
• If you are high-risk please call 311 to start the assessment process. Residents must have an appointment to attend an Assessment Centre.

Question 3
BC has a self assessment app – Is the Region or the province creating a similar app?

• The Province launched a self-assessment tool for COVID-19. It can be accessed by visiting

Question 4
Is COVID-19 now being passed from person to person in the community?

• We have reason to believe that there is local transmission now. Public Health is in the early stages of collecting information. What we know is this case (the Milton death) did not travel outside of Canada recently nor was he in close contact with a confirmed case.

Get Gaz yellow


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Fifth case of COVID19 in Halton revealed today

News 100 redBy Staff

March 18th, 2020



Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region today confirmed the fifth case of COVID-19 in Halton region.

Halton’s fifth case, a female resident from Oakville in her 50s, returned to Toronto from Los Angeles on March 8 (Flight AC790; Air Canada). She became symptomatic on March 8, and presented herself for testing at Joseph Brant Hospital on March 14. As per established infection prevention and control protocols, the hospital took all precautions, including testing in an isolated environment with all necessary personal protective equipment. Halton Region Public Health is actively engaged in contact tracing and case management. The case is self-isolating at home.

Another individual is awaiting confirmatory testing—a female resident from Burlington in her 20s who returned to Toronto from Los Angeles on March 2. She became symptomatic on March 8, and presented herself for testing at Joseph Brant Hospital on March 13.

This case is self-isolating at home. It has been determined that the case was symptomatic during a recent trip to Ottawa on the following flights: Toronto to Ottawa on March 9 (Flight WS3464; WestJet) and then Ottawa to Toronto on March 11 (Flight WS371; WestJet). Individuals who have travelled on these flights are considered exposed to a case of COVID-19.

Passengers who travelled on any of the above-mentioned flights need to self-monitor and self-isolate if they become symptomatic within 14 days of being on the flights.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health.

“While we continue to see more cases, I want to reassure residents that most individuals who do contract COVID-19 with mild symptoms will recover on their own,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health.

“We are starting to see cases emerge where there is no direct link to a confirmed case and thus indicate community transmission. Please continue to follow the advice provided by health care professionals, self-monitor or self-isolate as appropriate and simply stay at home if you are feeling unwell.”

“Joseph Brant Hospital has taken important measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our patients and visitors as well as our staff, physicians and partners,” said Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer at Joseph Brant Hospital. “We have set-up isolated areas for immediate screening and care, have reduced elective program and service offerings, as directed by the Ministry of Health, and we are preparing larger clinical areas should the need for more inpatient capacity arise. All of our physicians and staff are prepared for the increased demands and additional infection control precautions that are required during this time.”

Halton Region Public Health is focusing on those most at risk of COVID-19. Our current priority is to hear from high-risk groups only:

• health care providers who are seeking or reporting information;
• residents who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19; and
• health care workers or essential services workers who are experiencing symptoms.

Not everyone requires testing. Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home. It is recommended to rest, drink fluids, eat well and stay home. You do not need to contact Public Health.

As always, if you have severe symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

virus imageThe best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 is to:

• stay home when ill;
• cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;
• wash hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;
• clean and disinfect objects and surfaces; and
• do your best to keep at least two metres away from others.

Residents are encouraged to stay informed by regularly reviewing credible information sources. For more information on COVID-19 including confirmed cases in Halton, symptoms, risks and when to contact Halton Region Public Health, please visit

Hand washing

social distance -3 circleGet Gaz yellow

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Freeman Station: Also closed for the duration of the CORVID19 pandemic

News 100 redBy Staff

March 15th, 2020



Ron Danielsen President, Friends of Freeman Station announced yesterday that : “In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and as advised by Health Authorities, Freeman Station is closed until further notice.

“All bookings, meetings, and work at the station are cancelled.

‘We will evaluate the situation again on April 15th, and decide on further action at that time.”

Freeman with stop and car in place

One of the most delightful destinations in the city. Freeman Station – it exists because citizens made it happen.

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To the information junkies – knock yourselves out!

News 100 redBy Staff

March 15th, 2020



Aldershot resident Tom Muir found a web site that is a “goldmine” for the information junkies.

Click here for a link. Use the search box in the upper right hand corner to find Canadian data instantly.

Betting dollars to donuts that Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns, a policy wonk of some renown will be mining this data collection.

Live world data

The information junkies will spend hours on this stuff

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Public School Board asks parents to keep in touch

News 100 redBy Staff

March 15th, 2020



In a letter to parents and guardians of Halton District school board students, the Director of Education Stuart Miller said:

Stuart Miller

Halton District Public School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller.

As communicated yesterday evening, the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health announced that all publicly-funded schools in Ontario will be closed for two weeks following March Break in response to the emergence of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) in the province.

As a result, all schools and Board offices in the Halton District School Board will be closed from Saturday, March 14 – Sunday, April 5, 2020. At this time, schools are scheduled to re-open on Monday, April 6.

We recognize the significant impact this will have on students, families, staff and communities. This precautionary measure is being taken to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our communities safe.

We are committed to supporting families and providing you with accurate information and resources. We are compiling a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) which will be posted on the HDSB website in the following week.

The purpose of this closure is to slow the spread of the virus by reducing the amount of personal contact. This extraordinary measure, taken in the interests of public health, and the safety of our students and staff, can only be effective if we all minimize our exposure, and maximize our diligence, during this period.

We encourage all HDSB families and staff to follow the advice of public health authorities and the federal government. Today, the Government of Canada announced that Canadians should avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country effective immediately.

As a Board, we want to ensure we use the two-week closure period to reduce the risk of contagion when schools re-open. We therefore ask that during this time, you follow the advice of public health authorities and avoid public gatherings and travel outside Canada, and self-isolate as required, so that when schools re-open we can be confident that we have all done our part to keep students and staff safe.

Child care, EarlyON Centres, March Break camps, school rentals
As HDSB schools will be closed from March 14 – April 5, all child care centres, March Break camps and EarlyOn programs operating in school facilities will not be running. We have cancelled all community use rentals and bookings for the duration of the shut-down.

Online Learning Resources
The Ministry of Education is exploring online learning resources for students during the two-week period following March Break. We will communicate with families once we receive further information.

Status of the School Year
At this time, we have no information to share about whether the school year will be extended. That decision will be communicated as soon as we have that information.

Stay in touch
While schools are closed, we encourage families to continue to check for updates from us through SchoolMessenger,, and the Board’s social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

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Keeping calm and vigilant, and maintaining our humanity by looking out for each other, will get us through this

News 100 redBy Staff

March 15th, 2020



City Hall announced Friday afternoon that all public indoor facilities were being closed.

The purpose of this closure is to slow the spread of the virus by reducing the amount of personal contact.

Burlington activated its Crisis Management Team (CMT) to coordinate City efforts to protect public and staff from the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining essential City services to the community.

To aid efforts in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community, the City of Burlington has made the decision to close all City recreation facilities for a minimum of three weeks, as of this evening (Friday).

With the recreation facility closures, the following services will be suspended: March Break programming, arenas, pools and community centres, including the Seniors Centre.

All City organized large public meetings and gatherings are also cancelled, with the exception of Committee and Council meetings at City Hall.

The CMT will be reviewing internal City meeting guidelines and issuing an update on Monday, March 16. City Hall will remain open for business with enhanced health and safety protocols for staff.

Some members of Council had difficulty with the way city handled the release of the decision on Friday afternoon.

Some residents expressed concerns at the way the city handled the COVID19 problem.

One resident felt that

“essential services should be clearly identified in the disaster management plan which should be reviewed and updated annually.

“A chief spokesperson on these issues should be clearly identified. An upper echelon planning team comprising key municipal employees should be identified.

“A protocol should be in place to deal with the redeployment of human resources to critical and essential functions. Most importantly, there should be regular ongoing tests and exercises to practice and evaluate emergency responsiveness and to refine protocols where necessary.

“We’ve been through SARS. We’ve been through 9-11. We’ve been through the 2013 ice storm, and the 2014 flood. Protocols and measures on how to deal with emergencies and contingencies should have been in place long before now. The City shouldn’t be cobbling this together in the midst of a pandemic at the 11th hour.”

There does not appear to be a single spokesperson. News comes out of city hall with a comment from both the Mayor and the City Manager.

There is not yet a single place one call send an email to or call for information in Burlington. The Regional 311 service is limited in what it can provide.

The Regional Police are screening all telephone calls.

The Regional Medical Officer of Health has chosen to use “privacy” as a reason for not providing information or saying a matter is “under investigation.”

curve 2What the public does have going for it is common sense and listening to what the science has to tell us.

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Art Gallery joins the list of locations that will be closed to the public.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 14th, 2020



The Art Gallery of Burlington has joined with other community organizations in an effort, led by the City of Burlington, to protect the health of our community by suspending all of our programs and services and closing our facility beginning Saturday, March 14, for a minimum of three weeks.

Prepaid Nash AGB

The seven day a week operation ends during the shutdown of everything in the city.

Although we know this will be an inconvenience to many and a burden to some, we are proud and determined to do everything we possibly can in response to the challenge of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Please rest assured that we will happily provide full refunds for all of the camps, courses, tours, venue rentals, and other paid services that will be impacted by this closure, although we request your patience due to the large number of clients involved.

We will be posting all updates on our website, and a staff member will be available by telephone from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday, until the gallery reopens.

Guilds 2018 levee

Guilds will not be able to meet at the Gallery

To our colleagues in the Guilds of Arts Burlington and to our many volunteers, we regret that we will not be able to offer any use of the facility during this closure, and we also regret that all of the work we have planned together with you must be postponed throughout this time, but we ask you to please be in touch with us if you require our assistance.

At this time we are working to review and revise our plans for our programs and services, and we look forward to welcoming the whole community back into the Gallery as soon as we are able.

We are very grateful to our friends at the City of Burlington for their leadership under extraordinary circumstances, and we harbour no doubt whatsoever that together we are doing the right thing for this community.

With Hope and Confidence,

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Ireland House and Brant Museum to be closed for three weeks

eventsred 100x100By Staff

March 13th, 2020



Due to recent developments regarding COVID-19, it has been decided that the Museums of Burlington will be closed for three weeks, from March 14 – April 5.


Ireland House – closed along with Brant Museum closed for three weeks.

All museum events and programs, including March Break Camps are cancelled or postponed. Full refunds will be processed as soon as possible.

The Museum had earlier said it would remain open.

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Coping with COVID19 - having a plan and working that plan: Law firm does it right

News 100 redBy Staff

March 13th, 2020



When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) a pandemic there were different reactions from different sectors of society.

The city of Burlington said their Emergency Management Team was meeting to outline plans and that there was a Rapid Response Team in place.

Gowlings WLD, a national law firm with an office in Hamilton put out a message for their clients. It is a model of what can and should be done. It is clear that Gowlings has been preparing for a situation like this.

Peter Lukasiewicz, Chief Executive Officer at Gowlings explains the approach the law firm has taken.

Gowling logoFrom numerous public health measures to ongoing market turmoil, it’s no secret that the virus continues to take a major toll on populations and businesses around the world — and our clients in Canada and around the world.

Given these circumstances, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that Gowling WLG has been preparing for this unfolding situation since it first began to develop and we are positioned to assist you with the many unforeseen challenges you may face as a result of it.

How we have been preparing our firm
Gowling WLG has a robust continuity strategy in place designed to mitigate potential interruptions to our business — even during the most challenging of times. As circumstances change, we continue to adapt our plans and protocols to address the safety of our people, our clients, and others with whom we work.

All of our offices across Canada and around the world are open. We will apprise you of any changes to the delivery of our services — at the moment, there are none.

How we are helping clients
virus imageIn response to the outbreak of COVID-19, our firm has assembled a global taskforce to help clients navigate the many legal and business obstacles that have occurred as a result of the virus. With a view to further assisting our clients, we have also launched an online COVID-19 resource centre comprising timely thought leadership relevant to a range of sectors, as well as a list of key contacts ready to assist you. We will continue to update this page on a regular basis.

As we all continue to monitor the impact and progress of the pandemic, know that our thoughts are with everyone whose lives and businesses have been affected to date.

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Schools to be closed for two weeks after Spring break - Performing Arts Centre to remain open.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 12th, 2020



The Minister of Education has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break, in response to the emergence in Ontario of COVID-19.

This order was approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

This means that Ontario schools have been ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.

classroom empty

Classroom to remain empty for two weeks after Spring Break

The Cineplex movie theatre chain and the Burlington Performing Arts Centre have said they will continue to operate.

The National Hockey League has shut down for the balance of the season.

There are mixed message here which is the last thing we need.

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